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How to Change the Muslim World –
One Idea at a Time
Everybody wants to change the Muslims. Let me say how it could, and should, be done: One Idea at a Time.
That is how.
That is how you change the Muslim world. And that is how you change the entire world in fact: One simple and small new idea at a time.
That is how.
When people say they want to change the Muslims – and the world – I say: Me Too!
I must own up to being an addict to the idea of changing the world – and making it better: for all of God’s creation.
That means I am an incorrigible world changer, with an insatiable appetite for changing anything and everything that comes my way.
Madras Christian College. Things weren’t what they should be. I set about fixing them. The place remembers me to this day.
The Principal, a grand old man from Scotland, asked for me before he died. He was a man of amazing grace and personality.
City of Madras, now Chennai, caught in garbage in dirty, filthy, stinking Cuuvum River that slices this one-of-the-most-gorgeous of all cities right in the middle.
Too much for human conscience to bear. Now, I am told, it is a dormant UN project of some kind.
Delhi Jaam’a Masjid and the surrounding environs! Need I say more?
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) – and Café de Phoos!
Smart, young Muslims sitting around in droves, drinking countless cups of tea, swatting flies. Aligarh is known for its flies.
Well, I mean, chattering the usual gossip and drivel – empty, meaningless and criminally wasteful of time and energy and human resources.
And doing not a thing.
Port of Spain, Trinidad, dead dogs everywhere. Mugging and raping and potholes galore. Haven’t stopped making noises wherever and whenever I can.
Manchester, UK, places in the city that had no business being dirty and filthy and in the embrace of rubbish that had no business being where it was.
Places and things in America – that had no right being the way they were. My screams of protest and my paltry attempts to set them right never stopped.
One little idea at a time.
Begged Muslim doctors in America, over and over, to start free clinics. Nothing happened. But who knows, maybe it will happen now.
Is there a reason why Muslim doctors in India should not start doing it?
And is there a reason why Muslim doctors in Pakistan, and everywhere else, should not do it?
After all, Dr. Sami Hameed of Aligarh, son of Dr. Abdul Hameed of Lucknow, was a great pioneer who started this in Aligarh, UP, India. May Allah bless both father and son.
Dr. Sami Hameed, was the Founding Dean of Medical College at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). And he saw any number of patients free every day.
Allah had blessed him with great healing powers. So, sick people came to him from far and near.
Albert Schweitzer started a free clinic in Lambarene, Gabon, Africa, that to this day carries his name.
Using the art and science of medicine as a tool for social service and as a means of changing the world has been an old Muslim trick.
So, it is time for Muslim doctors to rediscover this lost art and start practicing it – in India, in America, in Pakistan and all over the world.
Muslims of America wanted Islam – and no democracy – and I told them: Give Me Democracy, I Will Give You Islam.
They even threw a “Brother!” at me, and I threw it right back at them.
Now, Muslims swear by Democracy, even though most of them have no clear idea what it is.
But the idea took root. And that is what counts.
Muslims around the world now want this Democracy thing, even though they may understand it only imperfectly.
Most of them feel they are on to something. And in my view they are on the right track.
For, Democracy, even when it is flawed and full of holes, is better than Dictatorship, whether it is temporary or hereditary and whether it is benign or barbaric and brutal.
Let me put it this way: Democracy is from God, Dictatorship is from the Devil. How does that sound? Does that sound clear enough?
Islam came to put an end to Dictatorship – of both the Kings and the priests – and introduce the notions of Liberty, Dignity and Equality among People.
“People” is a concept that the Qur’an brought into this world from God Almighty.
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, trained generations of People to love, honor and respect it. Muslims then were brutally forced out of it by the advocates of hereditary monarchy – by agents of dictatorship.
America in the New World discovered the concept of The People – albeit in a limited and imperfect way – in the late 18th Century.
And now the Muslims all of a sudden, driven from every door, are rediscovering and re-embracing what used to be an exclusive and privileged part of their divine patrimony.
So, that is how you change the Muslims – and the world: One Idea at a Time.
And now I am after Education – another small and simple idea, whose time, it seems to me, has come.
I want everyone everywhere to be educated – to have the best education they can.
And that includes Muslims – as well as non-Muslims.
I want Muslims to make Education their Number One Priority.
And I have been making all kinds of noises and moves about it for years – no, make it decades.
It is a small and simple idea as I said. But I have not a doubt it will strike root and grow into a mighty banyan tree that God intended it to be.
It will do so when Muslims start paying attention, when Muslims sit up and take notice.
And when God Almighty says: KUN!
And it shall be: Fa-yakoon.
For, that is how things happen in the world. They happen when the call of “Kun!” rings out from heaven and earth.
And it is an ongoing call. For, it never stops reverberating through the universe. Everyone and everything can hear it except us humans.
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